The Toronto Maple Leafs have played six games this season and, to say it bluntly, things have gone from bad to worse. Tonight was nothing less than a total 7-1 beatdown at the hands of the Pittsburgh Penguins. Not much – ok nothing – went right.
I don’t care if they played without five of their best players? Tonight, the Penguins would likely have overwhelmed the Maple Leafs without a bunch more of their best players out. It was that bad.
Was This Game a Bet Someone Lost with Satan?
The Maple Leafs would have never won this game, and it looked as if the Maple Leafs were cursed or were paying the price for losing some cosmic bet with Satan. It was that bad.
In truth, this is no excuse; but, I’ve never seen a team that was so unlucky. It seemed as if three Penguins’ goals went into the net off weird bounces – like off goalie Jack Campbell’s glove – then off a Penguins player – then into the net. Sadly, that’s not the first time that’s happened this season. The three first-period goals in the 3-2 loss to the Ottawa Senators were almost similar in nature.
It was just crazy.
Just Have to Mention Pierre Engvall Here
In the end, the Maple Leafs were totally beat down and totally embarrassed. The only player who came close to having a decent game was Pierre Engvall. Amazingly, in the 7-1 loss, Engvall played 13:12 minutes and ended at a plus 1. He was on the ice for the Maple Leafs’ goal by Jason Spezza but was miraculously not on for any Penguins’ goals.
That’s an amazing statistic when you think about it. My guess is that it’s the only positive statistic the Maple Leafs can boast on the evening.
In the end, the team is now six games into the season and the stars who should be leading this team have turned totally unproductive. The skilled players have not been skilled. The scorers have not scored. The goalies have not stopped the puck. The coaches have not coached the team.
Now the team is headed to Carolina to play Frederik Andersen and the Hurricanes. Oh my. It would be the very end of a cruel joke to be shut out by the team’s former starting goalie.
Now What? The Team’s Three Choices
There seem to be three choices the Maple Leafs might make tomorrow morning. Only one of them is good.
That good one is, as the Hockey Night in Canada panel suggests, the whole bunch of them – coaches, players, equipment managers, everyone – could just recognize the game for what it was and flush it where it belongs.
Don’t anguish. Don’t watch the film. Don’t yell and scream. Don’t turn on each other. Don’t beat up the players with their mistakes. Just come out and play another game, working hard to be more successful.
[By the way, ironic as it is after I suggested not watching the film, the Penguins’ highlights are included in the video below. Maple Leafs’ fans watch them at your own risk. They might contain scenes of futility.]
Second, the players, the team, or the organization could decide this team isn’t as good as they thought, panic, and make rash choices, and do silly things. That’s a bad choice.
Third, the players could quit on each other and on the coaches. It’s happened before and will happen again. That’s the worst choice.
What Maple Leafs’ Team Will Emerge from the Rubble?
Honestly, I now have no idea what this team is or how good it could be. But I don’t think it’s the team we saw tonight.
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